Saturday, December 31, 2011

Au Revior 2011

Highlights of art in various forms I've enjoyed in 2011

I must say that I read some good books this year, but one specifically comes to mind:  Just Kids, By Patti Smith.  If you want to experience humbleness, true appreciation for life and what it feels like to be a kid again - you must read this book.

An oldie - inspired by a documentary by Martin Scorsese called "Living in the Material World", on the life of Beatle George Harrison.  Here comes the Sun....nuff said

I fell in love with Jackson Pollack again.  My favorite is called:  Untitled, 1944.  It reminds of one person being stimulated by immediate forces of the world - all at once.  Check it out at the Art Institute.

Casa Perini Marselan 2008, Serra Gaúcha, Brasil
Up until two years ago, I only preferred reds over whites, its been the other way around for a while. However, this red varietal Marselan, indigenous to Brasil - really blew me away.  It was floral, earthy and jammy black berries all in one.  An elegant wine that I believe will age nicely in the next few years.

Francois Lurton Torrontés 2010, Mendoza, Argentina
I am a huge fan of Torrontés, but this one hailed a different clone that carried notes of quince and white flowers.  A pretty wine with great acid structure.  Yum and yum.

Domaine Chiroulet "Terres Blanches" 2010, Cotes de Gascogne, France
Blend of Gros Manseng, Ugni Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc; stainless, lees stirring.  That alone makes me salivate for this wine.  A perfect harmony of stone fruits, limestone, apple skin and baby white flowers.  Well balanced wine with a supple texture that made me want to sing.  And trust me, that's saying something.

Domaine Francois Lamarche, Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru 2008, Burgundy, France
I don't get to drink Burgundy, ever.  I can't afford it and I don't try to pretend like I can.  But when I have a chance to try a few at a tasting - I jump at it.  Literally.  This one was gorgeous.  A feminine style with notes of clay, licorice, ripe black fruits, and purple flowers.  A full bodied Pinot Noir which is usually not my thing, but let's just say that its juicy fruits and firm structure component caused me to change teams for the day.

Cold Heaven Cellars Viognier, Le Bon Climat Vineyard 2009, Buellton, California
I love Viognier for two reasons:  it's sexy and it never goes out of style.  Terrior driven, Condrieu esque, this representation had great acidity and meyer lemon pulp bursting predominantly on the finish that kept on going.  Full of juicy yummy-ness and very food friendly.  Wish I had a bottle right now.

Le Cantorie Franciacorta Brut 2007, Lombardia, Italy
You didn't think I'd leave out Italy - did you?  What better wine to close out with than with Franciacorta. Franciacorta is Italy's answer to Champagne.  It is made in the same method as Champagne where it goes through second fermentation in the bottle.  The grape varietals usually consist of Chardonnay, Pinot Nero and Pinot Bianco.  In this bottling, you'll find 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Nero.  Candied pineapple, creamy caramel, baked phyllo dough, and chalk heaven enveloped into perfect effervescence.  Once you try Franciacorta, you'll question your next purchase of Champagne.

I look forward to 2012 and the greatness of art that it will bestow on me.  To all, Happy New Year and may your glass always be half full with great juice.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Notice: Humbling required

I could trash everyone and say it's their fault.  I could point fingers and be completely convinced that I was set up or that luck doesn't care to be on my side these days.  But I won't.  A good friend reminded me today of my past accomplishments and whether they show or not, I have to prove myself every time, every where and in every way.  Not just to others, but mainly to me.  This is how humbling occurs.

Ever since I was young, I have prided myself on organization.  I worked in corporate for nine years, in which time I learned a lot about balancing numbers and how to manage tech support.  I applied my organizational skills and as a result, I earned some status, despite having a non-accounting degree.  That made me proud, but I was miserable in the accounting world.  I knew the career I had chosen, although a well-paid one, was not for me.

After having my children, I ended up in the restaurant industry.  Definitely the most brutal industry out there.  There's no one-on-one, even though I take it upon myself to enforce it.  I am all about open communication and I like to know where improvements are needed.  I'll be honest, I am not very good at taking criticism, especially as a grown woman.  That is, a grown woman with an arrogant child's mind.  I never thought I'd say this, but I feel as if somehow I became cocky - I don't know how or when or what idea conceived such a foolish presumption, but it happened.

Last year, I worked for someone who told me I never made mistakes.  He told me I was good with numbers, working under stress and controlling money flow.  I prided myself on that because it is a result of my keen organizational skills.  I left that job, however, because I was bored.  I knew deep down they didn't want me to leave, but the challenge had died and I needed to move on.

Currently, I reside within an environment that has exposed me to crazy like I've never seen before.  I made changes in my life, dramatic ones, suspecting such chaos, but even those changes could not prepare me for what is currently happening.  Irony came knocking on my door last night and I was told, for the first time in my life, that my organizational skills were not up to par.  Pow - did that hurt.  I felt as if I was in a boxing match and even though I weighed more than my opponent, he beat me down to the ground in the first round.

In conclusion, I must move forward and focus.  Whether I disagree with the other or feel as if I am already, I must strive to improve my motion.  I can make my organizational skills surpass what I was capable of yesterday.  I can choose to say I can, rather than I can't.  And in the process of doing so, I will learn the most valuable lesson of all:  how to continually humble myself.  So the next time I come into the ring with my alleged opponent, I will be the one doing the knocking out.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

No commitment necessary

"It's not you, it's me."  We've all heard this before.  Heck, I've probably used the line myself a few times just to lighten the load of a break up.  It's not fun being on the recipient side, but it is a part of life and it happens more often than we prefer.

My daughter alone has gone through three best friends since she started grade school.  It wasn't like that for me, but every generation is different.  Which brings me to the main reason for this topic: No commitment is more common than a solid connection these days.  I find that I have somewhat better relationships with those I don't have direct relationships with (via Twitter for example) than I do with friends I've known for over five years.  I find that the effort to extend a "hello" or "how are you?" are too far in between conversations and getting together for dinners.  Friendships are lost because there's too many cyber connection options and expressive phone applications that folks just don't want to exercise their energy with real people, but rather with people that are lost in space.

How did this happen?  I bet if Steve Jobs were still alive today, he'd have something to say about it. Despite his successes with Apple, he was a real person who left an impression on people, not just because of what he did professionally, but because he connected with people.  I mean, really connected with them.

I'm not perfect.  I have a lot on my plate these days as well, but it seems as if when I make the effort to reach out, it's more warmly received by someone whose face has not appeared in front of me once, and yet still wants to know what I think of a wine or why I go into coffee shops so much.

I ended the relationship with my so-called best friend over five months ago and I still struggle with that.  I know my reasons for cutting ties were valid, but it still boggles my mind that she chose to put what she viewed as "unstable disciplinary values" over how we connected.  Why does that concern her in the first place?  When you make a new friend, do you ask them how they feel about politics before determining whether or not you could be friends?

So this is it.  The age of "no commitment necessary".  The times when we get lost in our own bubble and neglect to make time to share flavorful food, great wine and intriguing conversations with others we care about.  That's cool - I get it.  It's not me, it's you.  And for all that's worth - I hope it won't be too late for your sake to come back into the picture.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Stop yelling, I'm standing right here

My first serving job was in the suburbs.  A family owned restaurant that served traditional lunch to appease the daytime working crowd and then switched its theme to a Global infused menu in the evening.  I came upon the place when I saw a review for it in the Tribune and discovered it was located less than two miles from my home.  I went there for dinner with my spouse and another couple and we were very pleased.  I came back the following week, asking if they needed an extra server on the weekends as I had been out of the work force for 18 months after having my second child.  When he saw my resume which consisted largely of an accounting background, he asked if I wouldn't mind being an office manager/bookkeeper/part-time server because he just lost his FOH manager and had extra responsibilities that needed to be covered.  I was ecstatic for the opportunity considering what I came in originally inquiring about.  The owner was the chef, while his wife and two middle school children helped out whenever available.

I learned very quickly that my new boss had a habit of yelling.  He spent most of his time in the kitchen, but wore many different hats.  He greeted his guests, met with wine reps, and handled phone calls that related to offsite events for extra income.  My point being, he was always around. He had a short temper and was not afraid to show it.  I figured out not too long afterwards that was the reason his manager quit abruptly on him.  The worse part was being around when he scolded his wife.  I could tell by the look on her face, she was always embarrassed and she responded by just standing there which made matters worse.  Ten months later, I found another job and left the madness behind.

My next serving job was at a Tapas restaurant that was owned by three friends, all of Greek ethnicity.  Talk about male chauvinism - all the male servers received the best stations, got the highest covers and were treated with glory.  In addition to this, I never did anything right in their eyes.  It was either I was not fast enough (we ran our own food) or didn't flirt enough (let's just say there were plenty of inappropriate comments made), yet I stayed just over a year because I made some good friends there.  Soon after, I left when a respectable opportunity came my way.  This one took me to the North Shore, and appeared to be very promising.

In my latest server gig, I worked among chefs that came with reputable backgrounds, hailing from some impressive restaurants that reigned in the city.  I was elated.  Most of the chefs I had worked with previously, learned their way in the kitchen with no culinary degree.  I was amongst folks that had a true passion for food and I couldn't wait to learn the ropes by working side by side with them. What I learned was, although they were more publicly respected, more knowledgeable, more advanced, some of them were just the same.  They yelled, they threw tantrums, and they treated you with little respect unless you bestowed the respect they so earnestly sought.  I didn't get it. Don't they realize they can't accomplish such a thing by trying to instill fear in you?

I finally got into the city.  Gosh, did it feel awesome.  I grew up in Chicago, so returning to the city felt like home to me.  I began working at a new steakhouse concept in River North where I had much more responsibilities.  I assisted with putting together the wine list and was able to exercise additional wine tasks which required me to be a part of FOH meetings and deal more with the upper management peeps.  You would think that with that in mind, the executive chef, who hailed from New York, would extend some respect my way.  Nope, he was another yeller.  The difference between him and everyone else was at least one time he came back and apologized to me when he realized he had stepped over his boundaries and that I was right.  Wow - everyone looked at me in shock because most chefs never do this.

One of my recent positions, turned out to be one of the most disappointing environments I have ever been in.  To be yelled at in such a way that your goal is to intimidate one of your vital sources of income was unlike anything I've ever seen and I've witnessed a lot.  Sometimes, it's not even about the yelling, but the choice of words that depreciate you and make you want to tell the person on the other side to fuck off.  Instead, I maintained composure.  I kept my dignity and didn't say anything, in hopes of making the other individual feel like a jackass.  Alright, so maybe I didn't succeed, but I got the hell out and in the end - that's all that matters.

My point of the story is this, "Stop yelling, I'm standing right here.  I am a person with values and feelings and I work very hard, harder than most people in this industry.  I will go above and beyond if you show me your respect in exchange for my loyalty.  I don't mind hearing you out or being corrected, but talk to me like an equal, not someone you enjoy belittling.  Finally, understand I have a life outside my job, just as you; don't expect me to give you 24-7 if you don't honor my credentials when I am within our work space."

Maybe in culinary school, there's a class labeled:  Yelling at your peers 101, I don't know for sure because I never enrolled in one.  I do know this, I have met a handful of very talented chefs that have earned my respect because they listened to what I had to say, because they knew deep down inside I cared about my position and meeting the needs of the guest and restaurant, and because they knew we were both on the same page and our goal was to work in harmony.  These are the ones I remember well and always refer folks to if they're looking for a restaurant to visit - these are the ones I'd give my back to because I know without a doubt they'd do the same for me.  To these few about to cook - I salute you.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Prisoner of wakefulness

Lightning strikes again
I cannot sleep
I toss and turn about aimlessly
losing the connection of me
I am lost, but really found
under the covers
No one knows the magic
and where secrets hover
Maybe some warm milk
or perhaps jogging the mind
Where did I misplace my memento
that causes the bind
Listening to the wind
I pick up translucent clues
I discover the hidden trick
chasing away sleepless blues

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Identity crisis

Nothing prepared me for the changes that came over me when I gave birth to my first child.  I was still considered a newlywed, with that being said, I had a multitude of whirlwinds surrounding me - all at once.  To be quite honest, the emotional overtaking of becoming a mother took precedence over being a first time wife and I lost myself to "mommy land".  Then followed the birth of my second child, two years later.  Both pregnancies not planned, yet still warmly welcomed, I became even more engrossed with my role as a parent.  I felt an undying need to be everything I could be to my children and there was nothing that would stop me.  Fast forward three years later and I learned something new that would eventually change my life dramatically as well.  This is when an identity crisis took over.

I started a new venture that I was very excited to be a part of.  An opening of a new restaurant that showcased so much opportunity and at one time, carried through with such promises.  This is when I discovered my passion in wine and I was going to do my best to get my career path going in this direction.  Life was good, or so I thought.  The recession had slowly began its course.  Suddenly a need for a sommelier wasn't going to come easy, especially to a young mother of two children who would be up against the most competitive group of professionals in Chicago of all places.  Go figure.

The business of wine is a tricky one, for many reasons.  Most of whom I meet are either single, married without children, or began having children after they had established themselves in the industry. And here's me - one exam away from my certification, living in the suburbs, with more financial responsibilities than I could handle sometimes and not as aggressive as some folks I've met. Um, somehow I think my chances of being in the world of wine are not as golden as I prefer. On top of this, I experience identity crisis in every shape and form, each day.  Who am I?  Am I a mother first, or a career woman?  Which matters more?  Can one exist with the other? How do people see me?  Will they take me seriously once they learn I have children?  And finally, why should it matter? I believe I can be both - it's happened before.  Many women go back to school after having children, maybe they chose to change careers or because they never finished.  In the end, it's all the same.  I rival with the worldly of competitors - some more vicious than others.  Back stabbers that I once considered friends - how did it all come down to this?  And who am I again?

I love my children deeply.  They are everything I wanted and for everything I didn't expect - they fascinate me beyond anything I'd ever imagined.  I learn everything all over again through their eyes - and the second chance for this is quite enlightening.  And, I love wine. It proposes me with questions I never knew existed.  It helps me understand geography in multiple layers by immersing myself into the science of terrior.  Honestly, it's the learning that fascinates me more than drinking it.  Of course, I still consume it.  In conclusion - there is no reason why I can't have both.  This identity crisis is definitely an undertaking, but such challenges bring on perseverance and if anyone ever dares ask me if I am a mother first, to this I will reply, "I am always a mother.  This is not only my duty, but my desire to do so.  I am also an advocate for wine.  I desire its existence because it drives my brain to crank in ways I didn't know could move.  Just because I can't dine out as often as those who do, doesn't make it less possible for me to continue.  If I give up, what message does that convey to my children?  I am dreamer and one who chases dreams.  If I don't properly teach my children to do the same then I fail to be an example of one who lives, rather than one who just is."

I guess I have answered my questions.  My children, they tease me. They often ask if I love wine more than them.  They know the answer because it shows.  In the end, I will feel content knowing I tried. Whether I succeed the way I desire, does not matter as much as my drive.  One day, they will see this.  And they will be proud their mother gave everything to be what they deserve in me.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I wish

I wish we all just lived
without worrying about being pretentious
I wish we all got along
without pushing others to the side
take the time to look around
and watch the world move around you
it gives you a perspective
that is greatly lost in technology
we are too in tune to our apps
and not in tune to reality
I am guilty of this as much
and too damn addicted to it
I force myself to look out the window
see people how they really are
we're all the same with different names
different opinions, and different views
that's quite perfectly alright
these differences make life more interesting
the cyber drug as we know it
has taken away the magic behind writing letters
I promise to write more
as I am writing now, as I will again
I will let my mind go
move slowly and take it all in
after all, we all owe it to ourselves
to not miss a single moment of our lives
money isn't going anywhere
and I mean this literally
if I feel trapped, I walk away
I lose myself to the simple things
I refuse to lose the pricelessness of life
it is within its moment, all along
take hold tight and breathe
it's gonna be alright, you'll see
all you must do
is wish along with me

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Breaking up with me

It sounds silly, but it really isn't.  We all, at one time, have to admit, we put more on our shoulders than we should.  We take on more tasks, make more promises and commit to more than we are physically and emotionally able to - and it's our own fault.  That is why I decided to end the relationship with the side of me that didn't know how to say "no".

I'm done with the sacrifices or the going out of my way for friends that do not return the same sentiment.  It's just not gonna happen anymore.  I majored in Sociology and I truly get the effects of recession, but it's gone past the point of repair.  We have been suffering trials and challenges unlike any we've had before, and it's been happening for over a solid three years.  As a result, we are in an age when it is imperative that we make careful decisions.  But what has occurred and continues to is the acceptability of selfishness more than I have ever encountered and frankly, it saddens me.

I lost my best friend this summer over a child disciplinary matter.  It's dumb, but I chose to stand my ground as I believed she attempted to bully me into giving up who I really am.  I don't have to answer to her or anyone else for that matter.  What I do believe in, is respect and kindness.  These values don't come easy anymore and as a result, I struggle with instilling this into my children everyday.  There was a random act of kindness the other day that my daughter brought to my attention.  She said, "Mom, that was so nice of that lady."  The tone in her voice indicated that things like this don't happen often.  It made me sad to think I am raising two kids that are more used to rude occurrences than politeness.

That's why I am letting go of that person inside who doesn't want to get hurt or disappointed anymore.  I understand everyone is busy, but so am I and if I take the time to show I care then I do.  If you don't feel the same then it's time to go our separate ways.

I tweeted yesterday that thanks to a particular someone, I am getting myself back.  I am referring to the fact that I continually remind myself, that regardless of the outcome - there are always powerful messages to be learned.  This is a stepping stone for me.  I am becoming stronger, I am learning who to trust and how to trust others.  I am learning to not be afraid and that it's okay to have fears sometimes.  Everyone we meet represents something in our life that slowly envelops into who we are and what we're all about.

For the record, I do miss my best friend sometimes.  We had a lot in common and it was hard to let go of our obvious connections.  I wish her well always, but sometimes life means letting go.  It feels good to let go and it is a necessary part of our lives.  So I bid farewell to her, to my "can't say no" side and the old me - who's learning everyday what means the most and how to let those things and people know how much.

Friday, October 14, 2011

sideway thoughts

slam. the door - taken by surprise, it opened wide then quickly closed with fear
let's make this clear, no - i choose to erase it, i don't want it to ever be near
i took a different view by tilting my head, i grew tiresome - leaving its thoughts behind
in reality, i was fined.  there are losers, mine a result of something i'll never find

there will be days when I falter, then turn blind, and the chalk residue is all i'll have
neither friend or foe can fill my showtime shoes, merely they'll conceive it a fad
no substance can cure this bout of ill chemistry, whatever it was, it was never true
i look upon the blackboard, empty and without words, it was all i knew i could do

i'm done wasting time, without much as a dime, to show for the time i invested
the mystery lies in another frame, troubled.  time to crawl out of this hole i have nested
when i soar, which i will, i will conquer.  there will be crossing guards there beside me
i tilt my head once more, eyes sans sore.  it will dissipate, the clouds, and leave it be

Monday, October 3, 2011

Reason #12

Last Friday night, I waited on an elderly couple who was celebrating their wedding anniversary.  I thanked them for choosing our restaurant to celebrate such a joyous occasion with.  They each began with a cocktail before I went over the menu with them.  When I came back after my spiel, they both agreed to do the tasting menu.  I was elated, not because of what they ordered, but because I knew I was going to give them the best experience ever.

This is a perfect example of what I love about the restaurant industry.  Each and every table has a story.  It's an opportunity to meet guests, engage with them, suggest dishes, pour their wine, correspond with them to the point that you develop a temporary relationship that can sometimes leave a mark on you.  Whether it be the distant traveler from somewhere you've always wanted to visit, or the young couple who's new to the area, good friends catching up, families who always dine together - as servers we learn to read our tables.  We know when to talk and how much.  We understand the signs our guests exhibit, as unclear as they may be sometimes.  In the end, no two tables are ever really alike.

Sure you have your regulars, that's the part of business that guarantees the revenue.  For me, however, the first time guests who come and based on their satisfying experiences, tell others about it, are the most challenging tables and the ones I fancy the most.  It's a constant learning cycle, and it wakens the various personalities that each server possesses, and gives them the chance to express everything necessary to accommodate the table's needs and deliver the best service based on their judgement of the table.  No other job has similar connections, not on an average of 90 minutes.

I truly enjoy serving.  I think it's crazy half the time, but it allows me to talk about two things that are very dear to me:  food and wine.  I grew up eating and licking my plate - I was a "seconds, please" girl for a long time.  As I grew older - my developing interest in wine brought me to a place that exposed me to wine at great lengths and for that, I am ever grateful.  It is only through serving that I can talk with others about my passion for both things.  It's reason #12 why I love what I do.

Friday, September 23, 2011

hidden chances

coming up with a rhyme
when I don't have time
ticking at the minutes
as the moments finish
how critical this chance
as I sit in this trance
the roads pass me silently
thoughts fly violently
afraid to peek in and try
my mind feeding me lies
yesterday gone to the vault
no one but me at fault
time to bust out the soul
buried under brick coals
good news is they're warm
intact and all in its form
handle with care gently
don't falter this crime
I haven't got the time
it's not too late to try
take a breathe, go far and never look back

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Treading waters

I landed on a cloud
slipping fingers, silky waves
my mind wanders, where did I fall from
what steps lay ahead, abound
will be I found
I flipped through the pages, act two
A pen-filled book and I, alone
a vacant room, what to assume
I search for answers, attention span trails
all that surround me
blank walls exist
Final debut, an empty stage
New ballet pointe shoes, perfectly tied
A constant passing dream, unfolding slowly
I complete my set by memory
foolishly, reality evolves around me
Treading waters suddenly

Friday, August 5, 2011

Wine prescriptions

Don't get mad, just drink wine.  That's the advice I've been giving myself lately.  As a result, I found that there is a light at the end of this tunnel and that is discovering in the midst of all things crazy, wine and words are soothing prescriptions.

I opened two wines this past week that I had been keeping for a year's time.  Both whites as white wines do not usually last in my home.  The first one was Giovanni Almondo Roero Arneis 2007.  It was still drinking beautifully, but I'm not surprised.  Most individuals don't understand the capability Italian whites have, specifically those from the north, to age gracefully.  Bartlett pear flesh, almond skin and a touch of herbs.  Lemon skin and minerality arising on the finish.  So food friendly, juicy palate and an upfront racy character.  I was so sad when the bottle finished, but I will hold on to its tasting memories delicately, remembering that Alfredo Currado so dutifully deserves the title "Father of Arneis" and thanking him daily for resurrecting the variety.

The second wine was from the Kremstal subregion, located east to the more commonly known Wachau subregion, both located in the Niederosterreich region, also known as Lower Austria.  I have had many different styles from the Wachau, both Gruner Veltliner and Riesling varietals combined, but I have not had many Rieslings from the Kremstal DAC and its microclimate personality was truly unique.  The 2009 vintage is lean, more restrained, muted fruits that mingled between lemon rind, underripe apricot flesh, and yellow apple skin. Tart nuances, yet soft acidity balanced with the stony and mineral tones that I would expect from Austrian Rieslings.  Weingut Stift Gottweig is the producer, Gottweiger Berg refers to its vineyard site noting its proximity to woodsy land.  A dry wine that could have been aged a bit, but sometimes the occasion is much more needed than the desire to wait for vintage consumption.

I am contemplating the wine of choice for the weekend's end, my day off.  Maybe if the weather stays as is, I'll finally dust off the red wines and consider one of their own for a change.  Then again, maybe not.

Thursday, August 4, 2011


how often it comes
when the heart tightens
and the load becomes heavy
my mind wanders the open plains
searching for answers that are impossible to find
I have learned more most recently
than in five years' time
these troubles never cease
the wonder of man

was taken to a secret garden
where my troubles faded temporarily
the running waters mesmerized me
I saw the silver lining on the clouds
blue skies peeked abound
I entrusted my hidden treasures with confidence
then as quickly as it came, it went
how gullible the intention
the wonder of man

Friday, July 29, 2011

Growing pains

It's seems odd, having the reality of "you never really know anyone" sink in
especially twice in one month's time; selfishness rules the current world

I wake up numb to its existence, fighting off the memories once dear
then a picture surfaces or a common connection re surges and I fall prey

I have often prided myself on being kind, but I learned its failure hard
Spoken secrets have an enemy and I find myself watching my back religiously

Where is the message? --- pins are knocked down, but my triumphs are kept in the dark
There's no one in the audience and I falter, for my rehearsed words have no meaning

Empty and unhealthy relationships have returned to assist me off the wagon
I see myself losing sight of sincere matters and those most devoted to my soul

Although not an answer, this much I know -- there will always be growing pains
age does not constitute its position, the feelings are the same, but taken in differently

It is painful regardless, but I almost crave the reaction of a child's versus my own
they are most resilient, while feeling invincible; it's harder to forgive as we grow up

I see the challenges of being a sole adventurer, that is possibly priceless at its best
to build endurance and chase after dreams and watch the world through my own eyes

I have questioned the prediction of fateful turns, if I had known, would it change things?
that's when uninvited emotions come to haunt me, I fight back to regain survival

Will I trust less, care less, desire less?  Will friendship represent regretful decisions?
It can't be so, timing represents everything, we become who we are through such experiences

So I will take these lessons and apply them to my life, through this journey of who I am
I was an impact once and although I am not present in yours, these impacts are forever embedded

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Wine Thoughts, Fine Vines, Small Production

Now this blog was mainly conceived based on the desire to start writing again, but I still felt the need to say a little something about the following wines I tried.  I did not spend as much time as I so desired, but I wanted to tell you about three winemakers/proprietors that I spoke and tasted with yesterday at the Fine Vines Small Production wine tasting that really blew me away.
Cold Heaven Cellars Buellton, California
Viognier, Santa Ynez Valley 2009 - the sexiest of their three Viogniers.  It had a supple texture and contained notes of peeled stone fruits and almond skin.  It was smoky with a great mid-palate and balanced structure.  I was very impressed, nonetheless, it was Viognier from California.
Viognier, Le Bon Climat Vineyard 2009 - my favorite.  Terrior driven, Condrieu esque, had great acidity and meyer lemon pulp bursting predominantly on the finish that kept on going.  It was really juicy and very food friendly.  Wish I had a bottle right now.
Pinot Noir, Makepeace 2009 - harmonious.  Ripe red and black fruits, brown spice, muted floral notes, and strong acid structure.  I can drink this Pinot all the time.  Especially with a good meal.  Yum.  Definitely one of my new favorite Pinot Noir producers in the Central Coast.
Ceja Vineyards  Napa Carneros, California
Vino de Casa White, Napa 2008 - a blend of Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Marsanne, Roussanne, and a splash of Viognier.  It was floral and racy with yellow citrus and apple notes.  It had a finish that was constantly changing.  That's when the complexity came through.
Chardonnay, Napa Carneros 2008 - I don't like Chardonnay, normally.  There I said it.  I, however, really liked this Chardonnay.  Well balanced, fleshy mouthfeel, and juicy apple acid on the finish.
Pinot Noir, Carneros 2007 - sexy and divine.  Ripe cherry fruits, smoky, balanced and a lot going on the palate.  This is a wine that you can cellar for a few more years.
Shinn Estate Vineyards Mattituck, New York
Sauvignon Blanc, First Fruit, North Fork of Long Island 2010 - whenever Sauvignon Blanc can impart a floral character then I'm hooked.  Gooseberry fruits on the nose, but the palate was different.  The flavors kept changing and I liked it.  Wines from the east coast still intrigue me.
Merlot Estate, North Fork of Long Island 2008 - another floral wine.  This time it was the combination of purple flowers, chocolate and black plums that swooned me.
Coalescence (White Blend), North Fork of Long Island 2010 - a blend of Merlot, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay.  The red grapes are pressed immediately after being picked and then cold fermented with the white grapes.  It is a white wine with a pink hue and it's pretty to look at.  A really fresh wine that would be great with food.  Let's just say, "me like".

Sunday, July 17, 2011

"What is Life"

What is life if you can't be free to love
to let go
to give freely, wholeheartedly
to understand without having to ask
to see things clearly
to make others happy without having to try so hard
to be natural in our actions
to seek our dreams
because everyday is an adventure
to work at something you love
but not for fame and fortune
to savor every moment
to trust in yourself because only you know what's best
to revisit memories because they're the best gifts of the past
to learn something new everyday
to listen to others because everyone has something worth listening to
to laugh
to dance
to sing
to paint
to cook something from scratch
to drink your best bottle of wine
to fulfill cravings whether it be food or desires
to get to know someone all over again
to kiss those we love, everyday
to give hugs
to cry for no reason because it feels good
to cherish life
it's not easy, but no one ever said it would be
just do it
let go
and smile

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A server's day

Some people are born servers, yet they just don’t really care. They have this savvy way about them, they usually win their customers over, but they can never follow through. They are very good, but for some crazy reason - they can’t give you 100 percent. Then there are those who try really hard, but they’re just not cut out for it. They study the menu more, they come in early to study the specials and to become faster in areas where they lack speed. They never learn that’s it’s all about timing and being in total control. Lastly, there are those who, for some unbeknown reason, are scoring the covers and milking the cows because they make the most amount of money for being a simple server with the fake personality. Maybe at one time they did really care, but once they saw the money the quality of service didn’t mean as much anymore. They take advantage of their back waiter, the one that actually makes it happen for them and the one who takes home the least of the tips.

We all make money to survive, but serving is more than that. It’s about that connection you have when you deliver the ultimate service experience. It’s about timing, sincerity and making your guest feel like a king or queen. The glory lies in the happiness you bestow on your guest. That’s why it comes from the heart.

This is a server’s day.


Digging for yellow

“You can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need.”

I heard the song on the radio the other day and I thought, “how ironic.” I used to love this song because I thought it held so much meaning, yet was so simply well put. Then yesterday I was speaking to a wise friend and she made me realize that we do get what we want in life. It is through the sacrifices we make to achieve our goals that make life so challenging, trying, yet very rewarding. Our characters, who we are, are shaped by these opportunities, privileges, and struggles. How we approach the situation, how we handle our props, and how we make sense and best use of our tangible means. In the end, it all comes back to you - what you make of your day.

Today, the chips weren’t falling in my favor, but then the sun came out and it made me feel great. I won’t let the uncontrollable circumstances control my fate, I can put it in the background and no one has to know it exists. In my world, it doesn’t have to. That is the beauty of getting what you want in life. Believing that something yellow is hiding behind something gray and you just have to dig in to find it.



Always changing
Sometimes low and sometimes high
Sometimes just trying to get by
I’m a mother and a wife
But sometimes I question the duty of this life
On school grounds, I fumble with conversation
That follows the flow of food and sanitation
Scouting the playground for signs of misconduct
I find the ones that will lure my offspring
At home there’s daily homework, then off to work
Where I serve the general public, serving culture
How diverse is the city of two seasons, winter and spending tax dollars

Life is about adaptation
Whether you are working or lurking in the dark
Changing your uniform for your next role
An actor whose script is constant improvisation
Separate identities, how often I ad-lib
Should I or should I not
This one talks or doesn’t care for me
So I lash out – fuck you
You can’t run me out, I am merely a chameleon changing hats


this is heartache

when your favorite place is closed
and no one knows how you feel
you've left imprints in fallen rain
and you still wind up the same
choosing and dealing is what life is about
take it slow, don't look back, then shout
here's another - conflicting emotions
not on the same page yet feeling audacious
should have thought twice before I knew
another hand pulls the yellow door
my fingerprints no longer lay on its handle
respect lost in translation, minus the scandal
the once good friend... what was her name?
played the take the best out of best friend game
coming and going, drama or pleasure
not my kind of game or treasure
the one of a kind I knew died young
i never had a chance to text her or say goodbye
speaking of… this is the hardest
losing someone who is dear, and unexpectedly
and you race with your mind to remember
the last time you spent together, what was said
then you recall it, and replay it over again
and it seems very real, tis true
and winter - enough said...
your snow flakes fall sporadically on my head
oh heartache why do you spring upon us?
i am summer year round, i cannot frown
let sunshine reflect on the true souls
the ones who really know who they are
and maybe then the heartache will vanish
and no one will ever know as they do not know now
what trouble lies among us
the ones that stay inside our hearts

this which is heartache


Addictive Measures

I cannot stray from it
how often I have tried
I turn here, I turn there
I convince myself of the lie
but somehow, some way
it crawls back to me on its knees
and I can’t help myself
the way I see it
I don’t know any different

there are layers
like flavors in a wine
the more complex
the more magnetic the connection is
it is because it represents your every person
when you’re nice and gentle
or put on the bitch mask
when you’re sad or happy or both
when you see needs that are indifferent to others
feeling 200 percent sincere
all of these mean something
and the feeling is intensified
when the addiction exists

your soul begins to open up
you are changing scenes
this is complexity
set me aside, you think at first
you want to hang on to the previous nuance
sadly, you realize you’ve become submissive
and it’s a new world, the layers linger
you get so far in, you discover more
sometimes familiar, sometimes foreign
it softens, it deepens, it defines itself
and before it touches your lips, you taste it already
this is addiction


Monday, June 20, 2011

How it broke

I watch the games you play, at your leisure
trust me when I say you will repeat your words, only with kindness
only then I won't care or turn around

How I tire - from hiding behind the curtain
my role requires me to keep my costume on
the audience oblivious to the true actress inside me

I walk the roads, in my favorite shoes with no socks
Anything that will harden my heart and not my feet
Anytime I am allowed freedom, I accept it earnestly

I have often been told, I possess great gifts
I am thankful, but feel as if I meant to be without
the truest passion within often forsakes me for the wrong choice

Timing is everything in my world
the beauty in this, is learning to accept its tranquility
even at times when its most darkest

I have awoken, I choose this
treading the waters in hopes of overcoming my fears
how it broke will one day be forgotten

Friday, June 17, 2011

Day four

Underrated sleep
My keeper's den
Future steps lay deep
Returning is long overdue

Shuddering is absent
What's real returns
Exemplary dreams unfolding
Touch reality, abound and yearned

Moving forward with pride
Seeking refuge within internal roots
Feeling alive intensifies
How was it ever lost

Revisiting my truths
Ignoring the impersonal
Charging onward brings triumph
Dodging all void and null

Misunderstood glances
Removing misplaced glasses
Refusing the game they fancy
Trodden ignorance results in humbleness

Journey onward freely
Solo dancing is most preferred
Purity surfaces over competition
Subdued reflections will then be heard